Sant Llorenc to Coll de Nargo - Dreaming On - Over the Pyrenees - CycleBlaze

September 21, 2022

Sant Llorenc to Coll de Nargo

Another absolutely amazing day of cycling in the Spanish Pyrenees.  More than once Ann turned to me and said "this has to be the best day of the trip, or perhaps  ever?"

We left Sant Llorenc at 9:45am after getting bread at the bakery and perfect cafe con leches at the place recommended by our hotelier.  A steady climb up the LV4241 brought us ever higher and with ever better views into the valley below and along the  ridge of mountains behind,  and almost  no car traffic.  It took us just under two hours to make the 9km and 500m climb to the first pass where we unchained chairs and a table from the closed crêperie trailer and made tuna sandwiches for an early lunch.  Just as we were finishing, we were joined by a hiker from France who had started walking from  the Alps four months pervious.   Ann remarked seeing him in the square as we left  town and he said (bragged?) that he had taken just over one hour to walk up the trail from town, bien sur the walking path was a more direct route, but still he must walk at a furious pace.  We were humbled.
From the top, Rides wGPS suggested the high route over the coll de Jou, but we opted for the L401 which was at least 100m less of climbing and the views were still spectacular.  We were in a different watershed, drier and more abruptly rocky than the one we left behind at the pass, and we cruised mostly down the road carved out of massive rock faces with steep drops off to the south.  
After the climb up past Oden we had done most of 900m elevation gain that was mapped for the day, we looked over the edge to the speck of a town far below and asked ourselves, "are we really going all that way down?"  Yes, then we started on almost 1000m of decent.  The road was smooth, curvy, not too steep, with a few villages and tunnels, and we sailed along for 20km.  The reverie was over when we met up with the C14, the highway to Andorra, and joined the steady stream of cars and trucks zooming along.  Mercifully we had only 2 km to Coll de Nargo, where we checked into our hotel, explored the winding streets, ate a good meal in the hotel restaurant and planned a slightly longer and higher route for tomorrow.  Can't get enough of this mountain riding!

Was it the best day ever?  I have a hard time making such superlative judgements, but it certainly was epic. 

Starting up the hill from Sant Llorenc
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Still climbing
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Looking back to Sant Llorenc
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View from our lunch spot
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Heading downhill on the L401.
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Zoom in to see the road cut ¾ way up the mountain face
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Road carved out of the cliff
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We rode all that way down in just over an hour!
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View from our hotel room
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Narrow streets
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Looking up towards Andorra, the C14 where we finished our ride.
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Ann’s seafood platter. Delicious
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Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 514 km (319 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 12
David MathersThis looks like a super area to tour! Another one on the list…Thanks 👍
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1 week ago
Rachael AndersonYou’re getting some amazing rides in! I don’t thing I could still do such challenging climbs.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonOh, my gosh. This day. I just went back and relived our own ride here. You’re right - one of the best days ever.
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1 week ago
Kathleen ClassenWe are feeling envious. We are loving Portugal, but we really are missing the mountains. Our favourite riding for sure. The views, the sense of accomplishment. We have added either the north of Spain or the south of France to the list. Looks amazing.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyNorth of Spain has been terrific. Reading other’s blogs, we think southern France is going to be fab too. Yes lots of hills. You guys have had your fair share of hilly terrain in Portugal. Maybe not the mountains but hard work too. Love reading your blog. We were in Tavira but I think we missed all the high lights! You saw so much more.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo Scott AndersonSo grateful to you and Rachel for leading us to these fantastic places. Tonight we are reading your blog on the French side of the Pyrenees. By your fantastic descriptions, looks like we will be on more epic rides!
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo David MathersYes can recommend for sure. Have you plans afoot for the spring?
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyRachel, after the summer you have had in the UK, you are ready for anything. You’d be zipping up theses hills in no time!
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6 days ago
David MathersAs of right now we are planning to bring forward our cancelled 2020 tour. Start in Naples, head for the Amalfi coast and Puglia in mid May. This is an area where we have never travelled but have heard/read many good reviews.
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6 days ago
Scott AndersonTo ann and steve maher-wearyI’ve been waiting to see where you’ll cross over and what you’ll see on the French side. Also of course, curious to see if you’ll be in the Dordogne or Lot any time around when we are.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo David MathersThat’s an area we have not been to either. Will look forward to following along your travels for our future planning.
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6 days ago
ann and steve maher-wearyTo Scott AndersonHi Scott and Rachel. Yes we are busy this rainy morning, staying put in El Port de Suert planning our next stage into France. We are a bit concerned about the 5km tunnel downhill into Vielha but we are giving it a go.
We are meeting friends in Cahors from 7-10 Oct. Our plans after that are not set. Meeting you in Bouzies around 10-12 Oct could work out very well.
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6 days ago